Tigwell Resigns as Head of Minnesota Airports Agency

May 10--Vicki Tigwell, chairwoman of the Metropolitan Aiports Commission, will resign from the agency at the end of this month.

Tigwell said she doesn't have a job lined up but is leaving to pursue opportunities in the private sector. The agency operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and smaller airports around the Twin Cities area.

Earlier this year, she was named operations director at Orion Telecommunications Ltd., an Australia-based phone service provider. She ultimately turned that job down, and said Tuesday she has no plans to take that post after she leaves the MAC. She said that she had no immediate plans after she leaves the MAC.

Tigwell was the first woman to head the airport agency when she was named to the post by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2003.

Pawlenty, in a statement, said Tigwell "has led the MAC with integrity, intelligence, hard work and commitment."

Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor has not determined the process or timeline for replacing Tigwell. The post pays a little more than $20,000 a year.

"This has been a very turbulent time in aviation and it has presented the MAC with a lot of challenges," Tigwell said. "I tried to give it the time necessary to do it right."

The bankruptcy of Eagan-based Northwest Airlines, in particular, presents the MAC with several key challenges, from the possible renegotiation of leases to forecasting the growth of Northwest at the Twin Cities airport, where it is the dominant carrier.

Most recently, Tigwell has been negotiating with the city of St. Paul to build a floodwall to protect the city's Holman Field from the Mississippi River. The city turned down the agency's proposal last month, but Tigwell said that had nothing to do with her decision.

Staff writer Martin Moylan contributed to this story. Tim Nelson be reached at tnelson@pioneerpress.com or 651-292-1159.